Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Just grumpy, or not?

Posted: October 21, 2016 by jennysaul in Uncategorized

Back when I was an undergraduate I had heard (from fellow philosophy majors who had done so) that it was possible for undergraduates to enroll in the advanced logic course offered to the philosophy graduate students. Undergrads were admitted on a case-by-case basis by professor X, who taught the graduate class.

As a student who was taking the department’s upper-level undergraduate logic course (the natural prerequisite to the graduate class), I saw professor X in the department one day and figured I might go up to him and at least introduce myself as an undergrad interested in taking his graduate course next semester. As I approached him, however, he growled “NOT ME” and then waved me towards the department secretary. I ended up going up to the secretary and stammering an unrelated question.

Of course, I may have simply caught him on a grumpy off day. But I cannot help but wonder if X’s behavior towards me would have been any different if I had approached him as a white male. It wasn’t until that day that I really became aware that all the philosophy undergraduates I knew who had enrolled in professor X’s class were males and I was a minority female.

Public VS Private

Posted: October 19, 2016 by jennysaul in difficulty of problems, double standards, Uncategorized

In general, I’m sick and tired of so-called male “allies” who say the right things in public and behave in the right way towards other men and senior women, but who disrespect women with less influence in the profession (and hence are less likely to call them out). Classic kissing up and kicking down.

What not to do in a job interview

Posted: October 17, 2016 by jennysaul in Uncategorized

I’m a PhD student in continental Europe. I was being interviewed by an old professor for a small teaching position that I really needed. The interview took place in a cafe. Another phd student, my future male colleague, was also present. In the middle of the discussion, the professor claimed “that all female phd students sleep with their supervisor. It is well known.” I said it was ridiculous but he insisted anyway. “Don’t be naive!” The other student laughed.
At this moment it is still unclear if I get the job so I prefer not to insist.
Later during this absurd “discussion” the professor complained about a neck pain he had because of marking grade. He suddenly grabbed my neck to demonstrate where it hurts.
Never felt so helpless and angry in my life. Endured it because I desperately needed the job.
Worst part is that I did get the job (as the other student did). But I didn’t get paid because of some legal loophole.
I wanted to tell this story because I want people to realize what a woman has to endure for her career that a man will never have to. I also wanted to tell people about the really bad situation we have too in continental Europe.

Men, taking over

Posted: October 14, 2016 by jennysaul in Uncategorized

Me and a few other women have talked about setting up an informal discussion group for our feminist philosophy course. A man (without us telling him to do so) told the class during a seminar that anyone taking feminist philosophy is welcome to join and that we’ll be staying after the seminar to write down all names of people interested. Another man starts laughing loudly and says something along the lines of ‘it’s typical that a you need a man to lead you even in feminist philosophy’. He and the majority of men started laughing. Notably, the professor laughed as well. He’s a man. I’ve never felt so humiliated.

Mansplaining mansplaining

Posted: October 3, 2016 by jennysaul in mansplaining, Uncategorized

While doing my MA, I humorously told a fellow (male) graduate student that he could stop mansplaining to me. He proceeded to mansplaining what mansplaining was. He was wrong.

-Being the only woman in a class of 15 men

-Having to pull aside a colleague to tell him I am in class to learn and not to be sexually harassed

-Being pursued rather aggressively by a professor only to be silenced on behalf of your academic career

-Having a classmate to ask me just how gay I am on a scale of 1 to 7 after denying him an unsolicited sexual advance

Over the weekend I initiated a discussion about gender equality in our department on our philosophy club facebook page. The conversation began by pointing out the unequal ratio of men and women represented by the posters in our seminar room (10 to none). Following was an explanation of how a friend of mine volunteered her time to create a few posters of women to hang in the room. I have received some positive comments in response to the original post but to my surprise, there is one student who offered quite a lengthy negative response. I won’t include the entire transcript here, just a few notable quotes from this self-proclaimed “counter-part man philosopher.”

“you think you will “help alleviate some of the symptoms of the larger problem of underrepresentation of women in philosophy,” but as my analysis has just show: no, I don’t think you “help alleviate . . . the larger problem,” but rather: you aggravate it. You don’t make thing better, you only make it worse. So, be careful, I like to warn you, let heed over a proverb that says: “The road that leads to hell is paved with good intentions.”

“I guess your feeling of “to be the only woman in a class of 15 men” must be like that of my feeling if I were to be the only men in the class of 15 women, which I would like a lots, I like it even more if those women are young, attractive, beautiful, and charming—the qualities that I think you lack!”

“Oh, do you know why philosophy course, especially advanced seminar graduate course, is almost always has no female student like you, to a rather extreme point of the male/female ratio of 15 to 1 such as the course which you are in right now, (my name)? I may be wrong but it is my belief that female students cannot—to borrow the phrase from a movie starred by Tom Cruise— “handle the truths” of philosophy; that is to say, being able to handle the truths of philosophy is some sort of—again, to borrow a film title from Tom Cruse—“Mission Impossible” for female students to accomplish. Put it differently, female students must have the feeling that the truths of philosophy somehow and in someway just, in the words of Robert Kegan in the book with the same title—“In Over Our Heads” to grasp. The matter can be stated simply thus: philosophy is not for the “weak of mind” and “the faint of heart.”

“When whoever you are that have great, impactful, or influential ideas or thoughts; have accomplished great, important, significant, or revolutionary deeds, actions, or performance but I ignore you solely because you are a woman, then I am guilty of or violate the principle of fairness and justice. But if you have nothing significant, important, impactful, influential, or revolutionary to say, then why you want or demand me to listen to you?”

“I think the real reason why women philosophers have not been well-represented or under-represented is because their ideas, thoughts, writings, or works are not as great, causing big impacts, and influential as their counterpart men philosophers, and not because of the fact that they are women.”

“your philosophic ideas, works are plainly not as great and influential as those philosophical giants decorated and represented on the seminar walls” (These are Ghandi, MLK, and Plato?)

“I hope I make my point clear: you are not well-represented or underrepresented not because you are a woman, but because your ideas, thoughts, and intellectual works are not quite that great, important, causing big impact, or influential.”

“Does any woman philosopher who has world’s shattering, significantly important, and greatly influential ideas, thoughts, and intellectual works but get ignored and underrepresented?”

“Oop, I should have better quoted from some female philosopher (like Simone de Beauvoir) rather than from the poor male Sartre, shouldn’t I?”

Then in a private message:

Him: I have read quite a great number of great works on the subject matter of feminism, from both men and women writers, I even currently take such Philosophy and Feminism, of which for some reason you dropped out. My point is: I am not ill-informed as you think I am!

Me: Three weeks into a feminism course, you must be an expert on the female experience.

Him: No, not really, I have read lots of works on the subject matter of feminism, from both the perspectives of men writers as well as women writers.

Me: So you must understand feminism from a woman’s perspective then.

Him: I guess I do, both from my theoretical reading and from being a man who has married thrice (three times) to three women, and divorced as many times! In my life I have been living and in contact with female human being such as my mother, aunts, sisters, and female cousins and nephews, so I think I have a good grasp as to what and how those female human folks may think and value different from us men!